There's No Place Like Home

A hometown show at this summer's Valley East Days reminds touring musician Larry Berrio why he's proud to hail from Sudbury, Ontario.

Any musician will tell you—there’s nothing like playing a gig in your hometown. There’s something special about it. You’ve got history there. You’ve got memories of maybe being at the same venue as a teenager, watching a band on stage, dreaming of being there yourself one day. You’ve got your friends and family in the audience. And fans that have been with you since the very beginning. There’s nothing like coming home and playing where you grew up. Which is why the Valley East Days in my hometown of Sudbury was the highlight of my summer!

One of the reasons I love Valley East Days is it gives a chance for locals and tourists alike to celebrate what makes Sudbury unique. We aren’t just a mining town although that’s an industry we’re really proud of here. We’ve got one of the largest universities and largest hospitals in Northern Ontario. Plus the region has lots of lakes and rolling hills that support farmers growing everything from sod to potatoes.

And we’re proud of all that. And we work hard every day, going to work and raising our families because we believe in this place. Valley East Days is actually run by volunteers—and it’s free to attend. It really is an inclusive event that attracts a wide range of people looking to let loose and enjoy the best of what Sudbury has to offer. More than 30,000 people attended this year from what I hear.

During the day there were a tonne of events to take in, including the famous King Miner Contest. Miners from all over Ontario race to win competitions in jackleg drilling, pipe fitting, and mucking. The mining industry has been a part of Sudbury for more than 100 years so this event is a fun way to honour that history.

There’s also a golf tournament, a mechanical bull, hot air balloon rides, tonnes of vendors, and lots of live music (including yours truly, of course!). It’s a family-friendly festival so there was lots for the kids to do, too. Everything from magic shows and petting zoos to carnival rides like the scissor lift—and fireworks to close things out on Sunday.

Photo by Claude Vachon

One major event that was close to my heart was the car show on Saturday. I even had my own Larry Berrio branded Dodge NASCAR thanks to my sponsors from Canada’s Best Racing Team.

I’ll tell you having my photo on the hood of a NASCAR sure felt surreal—it was the talk of my hometown for sure. There was an appearance from the Yamaha bike we're giving away too. Just loads of enthusiasts getting together to embrace our love of cars, trucks, and bikes—and our need for speed!

At the end of the day though, it’s all about the music. And getting to perform in the place where I grew up was something special. I spotted so many familiar faces in the crowd and to see everyone singing along to the songs we performed was incredible! It took my breath away. 

After the show, we went back to my new home in Hanmer just five minutes away from the fair. We enjoyed a bonfire and a few drinks to celebrate the end of our summer touring together.

After that, the band (drummer Ryan Peddie, guitar player Chris Syrie, and bass player Nick Fernandez) headed back to the beautiful Marriott Suites downtown, while my family and I got some rest after an incredible day. Before nodding off I thought about how grateful I was to have grown up where I did. And to be able to be back here doing what I love.

Sudbury has changed a lot since I was a kid. But our shared history, the strength of the people that live here (whether we’ve just arrived to make this place our home or whether we’ve lived here for generations) is what keeps us going. So thanks to Sudbury and everyone who came out to support Valley East Days this year! 

About Larry Berrio

Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Larry is an established artist in the Canadian Country Music industry and has been touring Canada and performing for over 14 years. Riding Power Sports is his passion, Music is his message.

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